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A man who lost both his legs after suffering a seizure and falling onto a New York City subway platform plans to take on a 5K obstacle course and 6K race this weekend after training with prosthetic legs for a year.
Roman Leykin, 36, a former tech worker from Brooklyn who was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teenager, was stuck with a seizure while commuting to work in February 2018, the Stamford Advocate reported.
The sudden attack caused him to fall onto the subway tracks as a train ran him over, leaving him with traumatic brain injury and his legs needing to be amputated.
No longer able to do his job, Leykin has committed himself to the world of athletics, taking on the Gaylord Guantlet’s 5K obstacle course on Saturday and the Achilles Hope & Possibility 6K on Sunday.
‘Right now, I’m going to as many amputee events as I can all over the country and pretty soon all over the world,’ Leykin told the Advocate. ‘I can’t stop.’
Roman Leykin, 36, suffered a traumatic brain injury and had both his legs amputated after being hit by a NYC subway train in 2018. Forced to leave his tech job, Leykin has moved on to master walking with his new prosthetics in a year
Leykin (above) is confident in his ability to walk with the new prosthetics as he took on a 5K obstacle course on Saturday and plans to complete a 6K race on Sunday
Leykin, who was web developer working in Manhattan, said the moments after his 2018 accident were a blur after he fell unconscious suffering from the brain injury he sustained.
He spent a year at the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, New York, and was using a wheelchair until 2021.
That was a big year for Leykin, who committed himself to walking with short prosthetics.
‘I jumped off my wheelchair and I took a couple steps and I fell immediately,’ Leykin told the Advocate about his first attempt with the ‘stubbies.’
‘I got right back up. And I fell. And I got right back up. And I fell.
‘And within 15 minutes or 20 minutes, I was walking and not holding on to a single thing. Yes, I was shorter, but the freedom of movement gave me freedom of life.’
Documenting his progress on Instagram and TikTok, where he has nearly 200,000 followers, Leykin can be seen taking short, awkward steps in May 2021 before falling down with a smile on his face over the freedom of mobility.
Since then, Leykin has evolved to using longer ‘tech legs,’ as he enjoys hikings, sailing, golfing, bowling, rock climbing, hockey, skiing and other sports.
‘I’m a very competitive person. I love sweating. So doing anything that makes you sweat, I feel great no matter what the activity is,’ he said.
Leykin spent a year recovering from his accident and is now committed to training his body
He has taken on a plethora of different sports, including rock climbing earlier this year
With his new prosthetic long legs, Leykin has also taken up cycling
Leykin’s latest venture was the chaotic Gaylord Gauntlet, a charitable obstacle course race hosted by Gaylord Specialty Healthcare at their Wallingford campus.
The 5K event features treks through the forest and mud hills, hurdles over trees and walls, and a slide into a pool of water. Overall, the race featured 24 obstacles for Leykin and others to complete.
Katie Joly, the Gaylord Sports Association’s program manager, commended Leykin on his drive and ability to turn his life around.
‘A lot of times for people it’s getting that confidence back to be who they are again because … a lot of folks that we work with, they have had a spinal cord injury, a stroke, a traumatic brain injury, limb loss, like Rome, and they’re learning how to live their life differently,’ Joly told the advocate.
The Gaylord Gauntlet featured 24 obstacles for Leykin and others to complete
Among the obstacles include a wall climb after a trek through mud hills
The second to last obstacle is a slid down hill into a pit of water
The fun but grueling course would leave most people too sore to move the next day, but Leykin is instead choosing to tackle the 20th annual Achilles Hope & Possibility four-mile race on Sunday.
The race, set to begin in the morning in New York City’s Central Park, celebrates disability inclusion and allows all to join the event on the heels of the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Leykin told the Advocate he was excited to take on the race and keen to follow his mantra, ‘Relentless forward positive momentum.’
The athlete said he was always moving forward, jokingly warning others, ‘I’m not gonna get in your way, but don’t dare get in mine because … you might get rolled over, you might get walked over, you might get run over.’